Domestic Violence in American Indian Women

Domestic Violence is not:

  • genetically inherited
  • caused by illness
  • caused by alcohol or drugs
  • the result of stress or anger
  • due to �a bad temper�
  • due to the behavior of the victim, children or a problem in the relationship

Domestic Violence is:

  • a learned behavior
  • Batterers learn from observations of other people, including family and friends

Physical abuse: This includes acts in which physical force is used to coerce the victim. This might include pushing, shoving, or being held against her will; slapped, kicked, bit, choked or punched. He may throw objects, locked her out or the house, abandon her in a dangerous place or force her into a dangerous situation. There may be threats or use of weapons and rape.

Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse is most often thought of as rape or forced sexual actions. It can also include forced undressing or watching of sexual acts. Forced sex when in danger, sick or after a beating are also forms of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse might also include anti-woman or demeaning jokes or name-calling (frigid, whore) intended to degrade the victim. A woman might be treated as a sexual object and be made to dress in a sexual manner with which she is not comfortable. There may be jealous accusations regarding sex or the abuser may minimize his partner�s feelings about sex.

Emotional/ Mental Abuse: In emotional or mental abuse the victim�s feelings may be ignored and minimized while excessive attention is demanded to the abusers needs. He may ridicule the victim or women as a group with the intent to degrade her. He may also ridicule her beliefs, values, religion, class, heritage or race. As punishment there may be withholding of approval or name calling. He may isolate her by driving away friends and /or family. She may be kept from working or be forced to work. He may demand complete control of money and refuse to share the workload. He may threaten to take the children or abuse her pets. Manipulation with lies and contradictions is abusive behavior, as are threats of violence, suicide, and homicide.


Native American Resources

Following are some resources available to the Native American woman and her children who are victims of domestic violence:

 Sacred Circle


Sacred Circle


877-733-7623 (toll free)
Box 638 722 St. Joseph Street
Kyle, SD 57752   Rapid City, SD 57701

Sacred Circle is a project of Cangleska, Inc., a private, non-profit, tribally-chartered organization. Cangleska, Inc. is a nationally recognized organization providing domestic violence and sexual assault prevention/intervention services.

Mending the Sacred Circle
202 East Superior Street
Duluth, MN 55802
888-305-1650 (toll free)

Northern Plains Tribal Judicial Institute
Legal Referrals

American Indian Law Center, Inc.
P.O. Box 4456, Station A
Albuquerque, NM 87196
Legal Referrals

Source: ICADV Legal Information, Violence Against Native Women and  The Color of Violence Against Women


 Copyright 1998-2016 American Indian Health Council. All rights reserved.